e-Assessment Policy and Practice –
Making the Connection
David Walker
(@drdjwalker)
University of Dundee
Overview
•
•
•
•
•
•
•

Locate e-assessment in context
Conditions for embedding e-assessment
Role of e-assessment in wider...
Not about bureaucracy…

You can view the full collection on Flickr:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/8181983@N05/ or by visiti...
It’s about addressing…

“Do we have a policy on this?”
Colleague, University of Galway (2010)
What is e-Assessment?

You can view the full collection on Flickr:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/8181983@N05/ or by visitin...
e-Assessment in Context
• Rapid developments in field of e-learning in last 10 years
• Expansion of higher education syste...
Credibility Crisis?
e-assessment “…must satisfy critics of its
pedagogical fitness for purpose”.
McKenna, C. & Bull, J. (2...
Danger of Disjunction

“While assessment is one of the last things that university
teachers consider when planning and dev...
Embedding e-Assessment
•

Realising promise of e-assessment requires strategic
approach

•

Need to address concerns about...
e-Assessment Policy
• Use of e- assessment systems and emerging
tools requires clear guidance
• Dundee first UK institutio...
Informing Policy

e-Learning Forum

t
en

En
vir
on

Middle-Out

m
on
vir
En

m
en
t

Top-Down

Institutional Aims / Secto...
e-Assessment Stakeholders
The ‘Hidden Team’

‘Front of House’

IT Database Administrator

Examinations Office

Lecturer

D...
Evolution of Policy
• Original policy redeveloped and re-approved in 2007 and expanded to
include guidance on use of emerg...
Policy Issues
• Greater emphasis on roles and responsibilities and clearer
stipulation on time scales for registration and...
Inclusive Practice
•

Inclusion = supporting disabled staff/students and
staff/students who are situationally disabled

•
...
Shared Resource
Policy or Practice?
Institutional Efforts
How can an institution help to realise the promise of
e-assessment?
• Enlist small groups across sch...
Annual Cycle of e-Assessment
Sept.
Online resit
exams

Testing &
tuning

Modules
begin
Annual
framework
meeting

Summer
up...
Summative e-Assessment
“Students can, with difficulty, escape from the effects of
poor teaching, they cannot… escape the e...
Formative e-Assessment
“The clear advantage of online testing as part of formative
assessment is that it is in a private s...
Student Views
"We need formative assessments! Online formatives should be
available after every block.”
“So it’s a bit mor...
Future of e-Assessment
• Secure, stable, performing systems - many institutions
moving to hosted solutions
• Innovation wi...
Closing Remarks
• Successful e-assessment/technology enhanced learning
dependent on numerous components – strategic, techn...
Closing Messages

“e-Assessment has come a long way and is here
to stay.”
Source: http://www.da.mod.uk/academy-events/e-as...
Contact Information
Dr David Walker
Library & Learning Centre
University of Dundee
Email: d.j.walker@dundee.ac.uk
Twitter:...
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eAssessment Policy and Practice

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Presentation exploring the relationship between policy and practice in the development of e-assessment in higher education and the importance of establishing a policy framework - developed in collaboration with all key stakeholders - to support wider uptake among academic staff.

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eAssessment Policy and Practice

  1. 1. e-Assessment Policy and Practice – Making the Connection David Walker (@drdjwalker) University of Dundee
  2. 2. Overview • • • • • • • Locate e-assessment in context Conditions for embedding e-assessment Role of e-assessment in wider Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) strategy Channels/stakeholders informing strategy/policy Embedding inclusion in policy and practice Institutional efforts and annual cycle of e-assessment Consider factors that will shape policy in the future
  3. 3. Not about bureaucracy… You can view the full collection on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8181983@N05/ or by visiting www.vimrod.com
  4. 4. It’s about addressing… “Do we have a policy on this?” Colleague, University of Galway (2010)
  5. 5. What is e-Assessment? You can view the full collection on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8181983@N05/ or by visiting www.vimrod.com
  6. 6. e-Assessment in Context • Rapid developments in field of e-learning in last 10 years • Expansion of higher education system (mass higher education) – social, philosophical and practical implications • e-assessment becoming particularly prevalent across the sector majority of activity within science/engineering-based disciplines • Growing body of research underpinning practice • Emphasis on alignment of learning and assessment methods with learning outcomes (curriculum alignment)
  7. 7. Credibility Crisis? e-assessment “…must satisfy critics of its pedagogical fitness for purpose”. McKenna, C. & Bull, J. (2000). Quality assurance of computer-assisted assessment: practical and strategic issues. Quality Assurance in Education. 8(1), 24-31. • Can e-assessment be used to assess appropriate levels of learning and skills? • Are appropriate quality assurance procedures in place to ensure the validity/reliability/security of e-assessments?
  8. 8. Danger of Disjunction “While assessment is one of the last things that university teachers consider when planning and developing courses, it is often the first thing that most students think about.” Open University (Undated)
  9. 9. Embedding e-Assessment • Realising promise of e-assessment requires strategic approach • Need to address concerns about security and reliability to enhance credibility • Ensure policy/strategy is practical and sustainable and aligned to institutional strategic aims • Foster sense of ownership of policy across institution
  10. 10. e-Assessment Policy • Use of e- assessment systems and emerging tools requires clear guidance • Dundee first UK institution to develop a Senate approved policy in this area • Policy and Procedures (2003) - broadly aligned with BS7988:2002 • Policy specifies procedures to be followed if e-assessment used in modules • Regularly reviewed/updated
  11. 11. Informing Policy e-Learning Forum t en En vir on Middle-Out m on vir En m en t Top-Down Institutional Aims / Sectoral Agenda / Legal Duty Learning Lunches Bottom-Up Environment
  12. 12. e-Assessment Stakeholders The ‘Hidden Team’ ‘Front of House’ IT Database Administrator Examinations Office Lecturer Distance Student Is the database correctly configured? Is it receiving and retrieving correct data? Is it properly secured behind a firewall? Are these results 100% reliable and secure? Do our procedures represent the best possible practice? Are procedures in place to address exam irregularities? Is my technology compatible? Is my connection reliable? Is this a replacement for F2F? IT Desktop Administrator eLearning/Assessment Manager Does the desktop software operate correctly? Are the “exam accounts” secure and available? Are the PCs well maintained and reliable? Are the staffing levels correct? Is our software choice appropriate? Are the server specifications correct to cope with the expected load? Are staff education procedures in place? Which software should I use? Who can electronically author my questions? Can we use textbook questions? Is this assessment driving learning? Are my questions too simple? Is this technology reliable? Do the students find it tedious? Where can we obtain challenging questions? Are these assessments aligned with our learning outcomes? IT Server Administrator Timetabling Officer Is the server fully patched, reliable and secure? Is the software functioning correctly and reliably Do we have monitoring and is it working? Are the logging and backup procedures working correctly? Can the proposed exams be fitted into the best rooms? Are assessments receiving appropriate prioritisation? Disability Services Manager Do procedures address needs of students requiring reasonable adjustments? Is appropriate assistive technology available School Secretary Can we book an IT suite for 240 students on Wednesday the 25th? Two students have additional requirements. Learning Technologist Are staff adequately trained and aware of how the systems operate? Are assessments correctly scheduled? Will the exam run smoothly? Are contingency measures in place? Student This is nice and private I am getting real feedback here Do I know the answers? Can I learn from this? I am at home in this online environment
  13. 13. Evolution of Policy • Original policy redeveloped and re-approved in 2007 and expanded to include guidance on use of emerging assessment tools e.g. ePortfolios, electronic submission etc • Continued development in assessment and Web 2.0 technologies and approaches - prompted extensive revision to policy in 2009 • Revision process involved: – Cross-team ‘framework’ meeting to identify key issues – Input from specialists on matters ranging from technical to procedural. Cross-team approach to policy development – input from members of the ‘hidden team’ important – Review of best practice in field including policies produced by fellow UK HE Institutions
  14. 14. Policy Issues • Greater emphasis on roles and responsibilities and clearer stipulation on time scales for registration and preparation of electronic examinations • Extended guidance on accessibility and disability support • As use of e-assessment increases technical issues more frequent – greater clarity required on how technical issues will be managed • Need for clarity on invigilation (aligned with University regulations on conduct of examinations)
  15. 15. Inclusive Practice • Inclusion = supporting disabled staff/students and staff/students who are situationally disabled • e-Assessment (TEL) has huge potential to enhance inclusion – or introduce new barriers • Dundee has an active inclusion support network • Web Accessibility Service co-ordinator involved across the range of TEL strategy activities – important contributor to policy
  16. 16. Shared Resource
  17. 17. Policy or Practice?
  18. 18. Institutional Efforts How can an institution help to realise the promise of e-assessment? • Enlist small groups across schools to pilot new initiatives over a fixed period • Ensure appropriate channels exist to disseminate good practice e.g. Teaching Awards/Learning Lunches • Offer appropriate academic professional development opportunities – include both internal and external contributors • Support a culture of professional development and a willingness engage with new ideas/approaches
  19. 19. Annual Cycle of e-Assessment Sept. Online resit exams Testing & tuning Modules begin Annual framework meeting Summer upgrade window Online exams June December Mid semester window Online exams • Growth may occur each year eAssessment education module • Changes may be made to the systems • A framework allows the process to be sustained
  20. 20. Summative e-Assessment “Students can, with difficulty, escape from the effects of poor teaching, they cannot… escape the effects of poor assessment.” (Boud, 1995) • High-stakes: concerns about validity, reliability, credibility, fidelity, fairness & transparency • High salience higher levels of test anxiety • Clear policy and procedures crucial
  21. 21. Formative e-Assessment “The clear advantage of online testing as part of formative assessment is that it is in a private space and, in most cases, it can be accessed at a time when the student feels appropriate.” (Challis, 2005) • e-assessment widely used for formative assessment • e-Testing: automatic feedback to learners - allow students to practice skills • • Reflective journal/scientific log – comments left by academics Most prominent role for e-assessment?
  22. 22. Student Views "We need formative assessments! Online formatives should be available after every block.” “So it’s a bit more relaxed sitting on a computer because you can, you can sit back and just click through whereas you’ve got all this going on in your mind but...you don’t have the added thing of writing down.” “I think that on the whole this type of assessment it can work, and it can consolidate learning, and it can enable you to apply knowledge and understanding to situations and problem solving but I think on the other hand it can be a means to an end..."
  23. 23. Future of e-Assessment • Secure, stable, performing systems - many institutions moving to hosted solutions • Innovation within and beyond existing (dominant) assessment management systems • Policy issues around use of mobile technologies • Risk to large-scale testing posed by closure of IT suites • Stronger links between educational developers/learning technologists/academics – more effective assessments • Increased sharing/sales of item banks • Clearer divide between (compliance) ‘testing in’ corporate sector and ‘assessment’ in education sector
  24. 24. Closing Remarks • Successful e-assessment/technology enhanced learning dependent on numerous components – strategic, technical and procedural • Range of stakeholders – academic staff, students, e-learning staff, IT staff, administrators, senior management • Challenge is to accommodate growth, consider risk and accept rapid change • Issues of sustainability – IT suite availability, staffing, licensing etc • Policy/strategy should be informed through formal and informal routes – need to achieve shared ownership
  25. 25. Closing Messages “e-Assessment has come a long way and is here to stay.” Source: http://www.da.mod.uk/academy-events/e-assessment-in-practice
  26. 26. Contact Information Dr David Walker Library & Learning Centre University of Dundee Email: d.j.walker@dundee.ac.uk Twitter: @drdjwalker

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